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Question DetailsAsked on 2/8/2017

How can i get better heat control out of a single pipe scoop tee zone with one central thermostat

Two of the three bedrooms get poor heat and I want to keep them at a better temp for my children. The loop splits and feeds in two directions I believe but I am not sure I can look as basement is open and I can access all piping currently. Looking for best/ most cost effective and affordable solution.

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2 Answers



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services


I presume you have already tried adjusting the dampers on the radiators - exactly how depends on make, but most have a front opening with a long curved strip tilting piece over it that that blocks or allows warm air from the radiator into the room, and you can tilt from vertical to about 45 degrees angle. Looks like this typically - the curved piece near thh top in the bottom image, which you just tilt to suit to block or open up the air openign above the radiator fins.

Acts to reduce the heating in rooms getting too much - the only way to increase the heating to rooms not getting enough if the damper is wide open is to add radiator length in the room, provide a more direct route to that room for the water, or remove things blocking the radiant heat from getting to the room. If you close the doors to those room see what happens - do they then get warm enough ? If so, there is enough radiator length and exposure. Could be doors are left open so the heat is escaping, leaving the rooms cold. If not, then adding additional radiator unit on the same piping in each room (to extract more heat from the water) would help, as does removing anything blocking the heat.

Most comon problem in bedrooms is an along-the-wall bed location blocking a goodly length of the radiator or causing its warm air to go straight up - which can be remedied by moving the bed to a wall without radiator along it, using bedclothes that do not reach below the bedrframe AND using a bedframe or elevated platform bed that is open below at least as high as the top of the radiator so the warm air can radiate/pass under it. Another common issue is drapes/curtains draping over the radiator and trapping its heat at the wall and window, preventing it from radiating into the room and mostly just heating the wall and the outdoors through the wall and window being heated up. Sometimes it is just too much window cooling - you could try (if does not already have it) putting insulated curtains over the windows, or applying the "shrink-wrap" plastic interior cover to the windows like FRostKing makes, or a home-made equivalent window cover with heavy curtain fabric with strips of velcro to stick it to the window frame - though that can promote condensation and icing on the window so sometimes a catch-22.

Single pipe scoop - I presume autocorrect got to your typing and you meant "single pipe loop" with several tees off it for different rooms - so a parallel rather than series system.

That arrangement really helps only if each subzone is regulated by its own thermostat. otherwise it is just a cheap way for a plumber to shave a few bucks off the piping If each room gets its own thermostat and zone valve (about $250 ballpark installed typically) at each individual room hot pipe tee off, then the water will flow through that room's unit till the thermostat in that room turns it off. Or slightly cheaper - a manual regulating valve at each hot tee so you can partly turn down the flow in whichever rooms you want as you need to regulate the individual room temps - though both those solutions result in less total heat into the house from that loop in a given timeframe, so the flow through the pipes has to run longer to give the same result. Not a difference in total energy consumed except maybe a bit more electricity if the circulating pump is wired for on-demand running rather than constant run, but the time to heat the house overall can be a bit slower overall if part of the system is choked down.

Other alternative - depending on exactly how the piping is run - change to series system with all rooms on a single pipe loop, though that does give greater heating to the first room on the hot loop because the water is cooler as it gets to each subsequent radiator. This is the normal plumbing for a hydronic heating system - one continuous loop for each floor, with thermostat and zone valve on each loop but no control on the individual room heating, and with the larger rooms (living/dining room end) usually getting the heat first, then the smaller bedrooms getting it last - with the individual radiator lengths exposed in each room being sized based on room size and amount of exterior wall exposure.

Most expensive usually - takes more plumbing - would be to convert the individual rooms to individual zones with each room having its own thermostat and zone valve, AND individual piping direct from the manifold as the boiler - means adding some piping runs through, usually with associated drywall repair and painting for where the walls/ceilings need opening up to put in the piping. This would be real unusual to do.

Another possibility - since you say two bedrooms with poor heat - if those are both off one "side" of the tee, could be that is a significantly longer loop so the majority of the flow and heat is going the other way (to the master bedroom ?) - putting in a restriction valve only on the "other" direction piping which could be manually adjusted so all the rooms come to desired temperature at about the same time might take care of it too.

Another solution - if the "other" direction is getting good heat, might be to move the thermostat to or nearer the kid's bedrooms - might be the system is shutting off the flow through the pipes when the "other" bedroom is getting warm enough, but the kid's rooms havbe not gotten there yet and still need more heat from each cycle. This solution would result in the "other" room getting hotter before the thermostat shuts off. Of course, just cranking up the thermostat gives much the same result - finding a setting where their rooms are OK before it shuts off.

Anotehr solution is the exposed pipes are in an unheated or cooler area (like unheated basement) - if the pipes at the kid's radiators are not quite hot, might be putting slip-on pipe insulation on the hot pipes leading that way would help too - though if that heat is keeping water pipes thawed in the flooring be cautious - insulating hyudronic heating system pipes sometimes results in freezing of water pipes their radiated heat was keeping warm. Ditto to basement foundation/slab, which generally should not be allowed to freeze.

He should also check the circulating fluid temperature incoming and returning to be sure the boiler is producing the right temperature water, and that the flow rate is not so high or low that the heat is not being extracted from the water, or that it is moving too slow so it cools too much by the time it gets to the usage point.

A good Heating and A/C contractor who routinely designs hydronic heating systems (not just installs or maintains them) should be able to assess the options with you and come up with a workable solution - hard to guess how much it would cost, but since you say most of the pipes are accessible and visible, I would think something in the $500-1000 range would likely work, short of making individual zones for each room which might run about double that.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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